this week’s column: where are my smelling salts?

by Violet Blue on January 8, 2010

This week’s SF Chronicle column was an examination at the ‘bromance’ controversy brewing around feature film “Sherlock Holmes” versus how loboto-exciting the “Avatar” so-called ‘deleted’ sex scenes might be. What I didn’t see coming was that the “Holmes” controversy was on smaller gossip blogs when I researched it, but when my column published, the conversation began hitting larger media spaces (and I’m being quoted, egads). The column is fun and full of its own controversies, not just the homoerotic one. Here’s a snip:

It doesn’t take a sleuth to take a one-sheet of “Pocahontas” and pencil in the plot of “Avatar.” Nor do we need a genius of deduction to piece together a steamy, shirtless closeness between Holmes and Watson in Guy Ritchie’s “Sherlock Holmes.” But watching everyone get worked up sexualizing both films is turning into a fetish of its own.

It doesn’t help that Guy Ritchie’s new film “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law is festooned, albeit necessarily, with subtle details about the way their characters lived together: sharing clues about mysteries needing solving; sharing laundry duties; sharing a bed. Oh, and rescuing each other from danger, which isn’t romantic at all. It’s what men do for each other. Duh. So when Holmes reaches into Watson’s pocket and with that perfect ‘oh you’ Downey inflection, fishes around whispering to Watson, “Don’t get excited” — we are not at all wondering what might be so exciting about a front pocket search. Except we might take to stowing our searchable items in tight pairs of jeans just in case we run into Downey in the flesh, even though we know we never will, but now we think that there’s nothing like being scolded while being groped.

Bring to Holmes the subtext you will, and that’s just what some backpedaling entities are openly concerned we might do in response to whispers of ‘homoerotic’ swirling around the burgeoning Sherlock franchise. Studios were rumored to be concerned about hints of more than a platonic relationship between Holmes and Watson — eager to position the blockbuster as a clean-ish adventure film. Good luck with that when you’ve got lovely troublemaker Guy Ritchie directing — and Downey hasn’t exactly made the twitchy conservatives able to rest easier at night, either. Appearing on Letterman to promote the film two weeks ago, Downey poured gas on the rainbow fire that Letterman was squeamishly tossing kindling into. You can watch it here on YouTube, and it went like this… (…read more, sfgate.com: yes, SF Gate commenters are painfully retarded trolls; you have been warned)

See also:

* hot boy thursday: Robert Downey Jr. in Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes (tinynibbles.com)
* Is Sherlock Holmes gay? (theweek.com)
* A case of Holmesophobia? (guardian.co.uk)

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